Articles | Volume 13, issue 5
Research article
11 Mar 2016
Research article |  | 11 Mar 2016

Time since death and decay rate constants of Norway spruce and European larch deadwood in subalpine forests determined using dendrochronology and radiocarbon dating

Marta Petrillo, Paolo Cherubini, Giulia Fravolini, Marco Marchetti, Judith Ascher-Jenull, Michael Schärer, Hans-Arno Synal, Daniela Bertoldi, Federica Camin, Roberto Larcher, and Markus Egli

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Cited articles

Alban, D. H. and Pastor, J.: Decomposition of aspen, spruce, and pine boles on two sites in Minnesota, Can. J. Forest Res., 23, 1744–1749,, 1993.
Angers, V. A., Drapeau, P., and Bergeron, Y.: Mineralization rates and factors influencing snag decay in four North American boreal tree species, Can. J. Forest Res., 42, 157–166,, 2012.
Barbati, A., Marchetti, M., Chirici, G., and Corona, P.: European forest types and forest Europe SFM indicators: Tools for monitoring progress on forest biodiversity conservation, Forest Ecol. Manag., 321, 145–157,, 2014.
Bond-Lamberty, B. and Gower, S. T.: Decomposition and fragmentation of coarse woody debris: Re-visiting a boreal black spruce chronosequence, Ecosystems, 11, 831–840,, 2008.
Boettger, T., Haupt, M., Knoller, K., Weise, S. M., Waterhouse, J. S., Rinne, K. T., Loader, N. J., Sonninen, E., Jungner, H., Masson-Delmotte, V., Stievenard, M., Guillemin, M. T., Pierre, M., Pazdur, A., Leuenberger, M., Filot, M., Saurer, M., Reynolds, C. E., Helle, G., and Schleser, G. H.: Wood Cellulose Preparation Methods and Mass Spectrometric Analyses of δ13C, δ18O, and Nonexchangeable δ2H Values in Cellulose, Sugar, and Starch:? An Interlaboratory Comparison, Anal. Chem., 79, 4603–4612,, 2007.
Short summary
The timescales involved in the decay of coarse woody debris (CWD) and related chemical components of spruce and larch in Alpine forests are largely unknown. Dendrochronology and 14C dating were used to assess time and rates. Distinct differences between tree species occur only at an advanced stage of decay. Larch CWD reaches an age of 210 years and spruce 77 years. Using this approach, the half-lives of cellulose (21 yr for spruce and 50 yr for larch) and lignin (> 100 yr) could be determined.
Final-revised paper